Citizens honored for courageous acts

Four citizens of Monroe Township showed courage and kindness, were awarded inaugural Robert A. Hennessy Award at latest council meeting

Back in March, Monroe Township Council passed a resolution to install a new award to be given to a resident who has made a noteworthy contribution to the community or has made a significant heroic or courageous effort. At the May 28 council meeting, the inaugural Robert A. Hennessy Citizen Award was bestowed to four individuals.

The award was a collaboration between council Vice President Joe Marino and co-founder of Lead The Way, Scott Whyte, and came in the wake of a fatal accident that occurred on the Black Horse Pike last October. According to Marino, four individuals stayed with the man until he died that evening. Those four citizens are John O’Connell, Steve Hoover, Lester Good and Corrine Good.

“I want to thank you guys for making a positive impact in the community,” Whyte said. “I made a comment to John O’Connell the other day, ‘maybe it’ll show people what to do or teach people,’ and John said to me you can’t teach people to be the way they are, what they did. They just have to do it. That stuck with me.”

The Robert A. Hennessy Award is something that will be given annually to a resident, or group of residents, who does something particularly courageous or kind in the community. Marino said the Hennessy family along with Lead The Way will choose a recipient each year.

Bobby Hennessy, son of the award’s namesake, was present at the meeting to speak on his family’s behalf.

“On behalf of my family, I would like to thank our town council members for creating this award to recognize a positive act of kindness in our community,” he said. “When the committee created the citizen’s award, it was shortly after my father passed away this past October. He passed away as a result of advanced dementia but fought with grit and courage as he did often in life. The committee decided to name this citizen’s award after my father because of his devotion to helping the people of this town and being a role model for younger generations. … Tonight we shed light on the fact that a life was lost. Michael Manzo did not die alone on Oct. 31, 2018, because an act of kindness and heroism displayed by the four individuals we recognized tonight.”

In other news:

  • With John McKeown retiring as chief of police, James DeHart was sworn in as the new chief.
  • Patricia Manusco, principal of St. Mary’s School, was named Principal of the Year for the Diocese of Camden.
  • Council passed a resolution to request the state Department of Transportation to install a green arrow at the intersection of Route 322 and Corkery Lane. The resolution states there is no start date determined for the project. The township agreed to pay 25 percent of the cost ,which is estimated at $37,500 per signal. The township will be given an exact figure prior to entering an agreement with the DOT.
  • The next council meeting is scheduled for June 24. The work session begins at 7 p.m. with the general meeting starting at 8 p.m. Both meetings are in the municipal building located on Virginia Avenue and are open to the public.